Sun, Sep 07, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui accuses Ma in ‘special relations’ spat

By Lin Yi-Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) turned his back on his country by defining relations between Taiwan and China as “special relations” instead of a “state-to-state” relationship, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said last night.

Speaking with Mexican newspaper Sol de Mexico last month, Ma defined ties between Taiwan and China as “special relations,” reversing a decade-long government position.

The text of the interview was released by the Presidential Office last Wednesday. The next day, the Office elaborated on the text, saying that under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution and the Statute Governing the Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the relationship between Taiwan and China is one between two regions.

“It is between the ‘Taiwan region’ and the ‘mainland region,’” Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said on Thursday.

At a fundraising dinner last night in Taipei, Lee said that Taiwan is a de jure, independent country and that only the people, not the president, have the power to change the cross-strait “status quo” in a referendum.

“When I was president back in 1999, I at least advocated that Taiwan and China had ‘special state-to-state relations’ and that Taiwan certainly does not have an internal relationship with China,” Lee said.

“The people have elected Ma as their leader. But it does not authorize him to surrender Taiwan’s sovereignty. The decisive power lies in the hands of the people. If any changes were to take place, they would have to be through a referendum — to let the people determine their future,” he added.

Lee said Taiwan’s sovereignty is an issue for the international community. No one on either side of the Taiwan Strait could unilaterally alter the “status quo,” he said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party, he said, must not think that they can keep people in the dark by making all the decisions on Taiwan’s future.

“The US and Japan have repeatedly warned Ma of his pro-China leanings,” Lee said.

Despite reminders he had delivered to Ma that there was no “1992 consensus,” Lee said that Ma caved in to pressure and embraced the fictional deal to curry favor with Beijing so that Chinese tourists could be allowed into Taiwan.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU

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